Meet the Organizers Offering Self-Defense Tools and Training to the Trans Community (them., Eva Reign)
Interview with leaders from the Chicago-based collectives THORN and Molasses.
Despite 2020 being one of the deadliest years on record for Black trans people, hardly enough attention has been given to one of the most direct means of curbing this epidemic: self-defense. Of course, turning the tide of this ongoing calamity will require undoing societal structures that put our community in harm’s way, such as housing insecurity, employment discrimination, and transmisogynoir. Still, we must ask: What can be done in the meantime? What happens when laws aren’t enough? How can Black trans people protect ourselves while society gets its act together? And how can cis allies lend a helping hand?
For Chicago-based groups like Molasses and THORN, the answer is through a combination of mutual aid and making sure our community members have the tools and the skills to protect ourselves. “We don’t support propaganda or rhetoric surrounding a nonviolent, peaceful, or passive approach when people’s lives are being threatened,” says Onyx, one of the founders of the Molasses collective. “We support [trans] folks fighting back and defending themselves.”
THORN was born this past August as a response to the ongoing violence against Chicago’s Black trans community. The organization provides free tools, from stun guns to pocket knives to pepper spray, for Black and Brown trans people in need.
Readings, resources for Black trans folks seeking aid (including self-defense tools), and places for allies to donate.
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